Taliban’s destruction of poppy fields sparks protest in Afghanistan

The Taliban’s Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday the destruction of 148 hectares of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan’s north-eastern province of Badakhshan.

The move came amid ongoing efforts by the Taliban government to eradicate opium production in the country.

A local source in Badakhshan told dpa that farmers in a village within the Argu district protested against the destruction, which led to the arrest of several individuals described as ‘inciters.’ The source added that the situation was now calm, with eradication efforts resuming.

However, local broadcaster Salam Watandar reported that the protest in Argu district turned violent, resulting in three deaths and 10 injuries among protesters.

Dpa could not independently verify the reports of violence.

The incident follows a similar protest earlier this month in the Darayim district of the same province. That protest, which also erupted in response to poppy destruction efforts, resulted in at least one death.

The Taliban government responded by s
ending a high-ranking official to negotiate a peaceful resolution with local farmers, though the specific solutions remain undisclosed.

The eradication of poppy cultivation decreed by the Taliban’s supreme leader remains a core principle of their counter-narcotics strategy. Afghanistan has been one of the world’s leading producers of opium, a key ingredient in heroin.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported in November that opium cultivation in Afghanistan had declined by an estimated 95% following the Taliban’s ban.

UN officials warned that this sharp reduction has had immediate humanitarian consequences, as many farmers relied on income from cultivating opium, which can also be used to make legitimate drugs.

Source: Ghana News Agency